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Monday of the Third Week of Advent


This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.

When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,

but before they lived together,

she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.

Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,

yet unwilling to expose her to shame,

decided to divorce her quietly.

Such was his intention when, behold,

the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,

"Joseph, son of David,

do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.

For it is through the Holy Spirit

that this child has been conceived in her.

She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,

because he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfill

what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,

and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means "God is with us."

When Joseph awoke,

he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him

and took his wife into his home.

He had no relations with her until she bore a son,

and he named him Jesus.


This Gospel describes Joesph as a righteous man, but what does this mean?

I thought about it and while normally I might associate this term “righteous” with one being overly superior, proud, haughty, or condescending… I realized this was definitely not the case here. When I looked up the word righteous I found it meant a person or conduct of morally right or virtuous behavior. This was extremely fitting to describe Joseph as he was attempting to do the morally right thing at first of quietly divorcing Mary when he found her with child, however while Joseph is a righteous man he is also one of great faith and humility.

In the cultural context of that time, discovering that his betrothed wife was pregnant could have brought shame not only upon Mary but also upon Joseph himself. Not to mention a proud man (of that time) would have wanted to punish Mary and would not have had the humility to show Mary mercy. Yet, Joseph's righteousness is marked by his unwillingness to expose Mary to public shame, demonstrating a compassionate and considerate nature.

When Joseph is visited by the angel of the Lord in a dream, the angel reassures him and provides insight into the divine plan unfolding through Mary's pregnancy. Joseph's immediate and unwavering obedience to the angel's message showcases not only his righteousness but also his profound faith and trust in God.

I think Joseph's righteousness is a great model for us to emulate as a reminder that virtuous behavior is not synonymous with self-righteousness. Instead, it involves humility, compassion, and a willingness to trust in God even when faced with great challenges and uncertainties.


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